|Man: The Image of God
Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz
I AM REVEALED
Jun 14 2011
King David was one of history's most insightful observers of human nature, particularly as he thought about man in
relation to God. In Psalm 8, David asks God a moving question:
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man, that you care for him?
point in the book your appreciation for God has increased. Perhaps you're even in awe of who God is, and what He has
done for each of us.
If you are at that point, as David was, then it is only natural to look at yourself the way David did. He wasn't being critical
of human beings, just realistic. David perceived man's insignificance in comparison to God and His handiwork. That's
why it's natural to wonder:
In this chapter we are going to try to answer these questions as we look at the final act of God's creation: man.
Where Man and Woman Came From
And God Created Man
When you read the description in Genesis 1 of how God set man on this earth, you get a clear and dramatic sense that
man mattered immensely to God:
birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground"
man. We know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were one with God at all points of Creation, but the emphasis in these
verses gives this process special meaning.
Later in the Creation story, the writer of Genesis describes how God made the first man, Adam:
man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
and take care of it." Then He told Adam that there was something very important he needed to know about this garden:
that he (Adam) was not to touch or to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or he would "surely
We don't know if Adam truly understood what "die" meant, since death was not yet part of earth's experience. God
created a perfect world. It truly was paradise.
We do know that God gave Adam a very specific command: Don't touch the tree [of the Knowledge of Good and Evil] .
He also was very clear about the consequences.
Woman - God's Finishing Touch
That's when God did something very wonderful for Adam. He created woman.
God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and
closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man,
and he brought her to the man (Genesis 2:18,21-22).
"Wow!" and no long welcoming speech. Instead. Adam was stunned that she was an expression of his very being.
Listen to what he said:
taken out of man" (Genesis 2:23).
possibly go wrong?
For now, we want to focus on the nature of man as he was created. Even though every human being since man's
creation has been different because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, we still possess those same qualities God
lavished on the crown of His Creation - human beings.
What It Means to Be Human
A Creation Set Apart
As a member of the mammal category, man shares many characteristics with other very highly developed creatures
(such as opossums):
Seriously - while man may bear structural resemblance to other mammals, especially primates, in so many ways man is
completely unique. One of a kind. In fact, many people who refuse to acknowledge God as Creator will acknowledge
that it requires more "faith" to believe man evolved from primates than it does to believe he is a created being.
Understanding that God created man in His image is critical. That we are made in God's image explains why every
person who has ever lived has thought about God. God's image - His imprint - is there. It is this divine imprint which
ultimately gives us our value.
Is "Imago Dei" a Designer Label or a Photo Gallery?
Yes to both - in a way. Imago Dei is a Latin term meaning "man in the image of God." Human beings bear the imprint of
Him, His design; we are His "photograph."
In the Garden of Eden, where man was perfect, the likeness of man to God must have been even more marked. But
even after man disobeyed God, His imprint remained. As God told Noah years later:
divine imprint. Human life is to be respected and preserved, whether it is very young or very old, strong or weak. "And
from each man," God said in Genesis 9:5, "I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man."
When God Took Dust in His hands
Man is the only living thing personally and lovingly crafted by the Creator (God made everything else by calling it into
existence - Genesis 2:7, 21-22). Perhaps as a result, we have several important, unique qualities:
Heart, Soul, Mind and Will
1. The Heart of Man. In everyday speech, we use the word heart in a variety of ways, usually having nothing to do
with the actual organ that pumps blood through our bodies.
In similar ways, the Bible talks about the heart of man in these nonphysical ways:
In a very real sense, the heart is the human control center for emotions and deepest desires. In Proverbs, Solomon
tells his son, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (4:23).
2. The Soul of Man. Heart and soul often go together in music and literature, but there is a distinction between the
two. The soul, which is sometimes referred to as the spirit, is the eternal essence of a person, the part that never dies.
Because the soul is eternal, it is often said that your soul is the real you.
The soul is also something which can be lost in the spiritual sense. Jesus talked about forfeiting the eternal soul in
exchange for what this temporal world has to offer:
exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26).
soul cannot exist without the power of God (Acts 17:28).
3. The Mind of Man. The mind, or thinking ability, of a person is capable of many positive things:
But a human's mind is also capable of many negative things:
4. The Will of Man. Another essential but intangible part of man is his will. This quality usually shows up early in life.
Have you ever seen a child with a strong will? For that matter, have you ever seen a full-gown adult with a strong will?
The will of man, or his ability to choose and pursue desired goals, is an amazingly powerful drive. We often talk about
the will to win. In a contest between two people, we may refer to a battle of wills.
In a spiritual sense, the will of man has played a major role since Adam and Eve. God could have created our first
parents without the ability to choose, so that they would do only what He had determined they would do. But He didn't.
He gave them the power and the freedom to make their own decisions - including the decision that would change the
human race forever.
So Why Are We Here?
Why did God create man, especially since He must have known how man would respond to His command to obey Him?
And why does He put up with us now?
The "Why are we here?" question got its best-known answer in the Westminster Confession (a church creed from 1646):
God loves His creation, especially those special creatures He made in His image. He desires nothing greater than to
have us glorify Him in all we do, and to truly enjoy everything about Him.
Another wonderful statement is found in the Old Testament book of Micah, a prophet to Israel. Micah gives us some
terrific insight into why we are here, and what it takes to please our Creator:
mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
all, the daily presence of God. A perfect world...with just one little off-limits sign: "Don't eat from this tree. That's God's
idea of a perfect world - a place where a man and woman could enjoy perfect happiness in perfect freedom, including
the freedom to choose - even to choose against God.
GUIDE TO GOD, by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, Copyright 1997, HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES